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Von Neumann probes: rationale, propulsion, interstellar transfer timing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 February 2022

Gregory L. Matloff*
Physics Department, New York City College of Technology, CUNY, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Author for correspondence: Gregory L. Matloff, E-mail:


A Von Neumann probe is a self-reproducing intelligent device with interstellar capabilities. A space-faring civilization could conceivably use such constructs to occupy much or all of the Milky Way galaxy and perhaps the entire universe. This paper presents several reasons that a civilization might decide to produce and deploy Von Neumann probes. Physically possible interstellar propulsion methods for such devices are discussed, as is a launch strategy minimizing the duration of an interstellar transfer. Various solar system locations could be investigated to determine whether Von Neumann probes are present in our vicinity.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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